The Caps already knew they were playing the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs, but there was more left to be decided on the final day of the NHL season.
With the New York Islanders’ 5-2 loss to Philadelphia, they failed to overtake the New York Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division. As a result, they will go across divisions to face the Florida Panthers.
That also sets up a difficult matchup for the Rangers who now will face the surging Pittsburgh Penguins.
Here are all the Eastern Conference matchups:
Washington (Winners of the Metropolitan vs. Philadelphia (2nd wild card)
Pittsburgh (2nd in the Metropolitan) vs. New York Rangers (3rd in the Metropolitan)
Florida (Winners of the Atlantic) vs. New York Islanders (1st wild card)
Tampa Bay (2nd in the Atlantic) vs. Detroit (3rd in the Atlantic)
As a quick refreshers, the top three teams in each division automatically make the playoffs. The next two highest records, regardless of division, make the playoffs as wild card teams. The division winner with the highest record plays the second wild card team, again, regardless of division.
As a result, this year we have the Islanders, a Metropolitan team, facing the winners of the Atlantic.
Should the Caps win their first round series against the Flyers, they will play the winner of the Penguins-Rangers series.